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Great Story: Hidden Passion

This great story was written by Mark Daml, an AmeriCorps member who served with College Possible Washington. Great stories like this one are written by AmeriCorps members and read at every team meeting as a way for our team to reflect, share learnings and stay connected to the students and coaches who have come before us and will come after us.

One experience that has shaped my time as a senior high school coach at Franklin High School has been my time with one of my students, Nathan. I met Nathan last year as a first-year coach. When I first met Nathan, he came across as a quiet, reserved student who was somewhat interested in learning about college, College Possible, and growing in the College Possible community at Franklin. As I grew to know him, I found that he had one singular passion: video games. Whenever I would ask him about his plans for the weekend or his dream job, it all came back to video games. From then on, we would start our conversations talking about video games. We would chat in our one-on-ones about games we both enjoyed and the storylines and characters that inspired us. From there, we would dive into the content with a growing level of understanding and shared passion. This connection created a strong level of trust and comfort.

After his junior year, I mentioned to Nathan some summer enrichment opportunities. He ended up applying to a few, one of them being an internship program with the game developer Mojang Studios, the creator of Minecraft. After filling out the application and expressing his passion for video games, he landed the internship. Through this experience, he learned more about game development and what it takes to succeed in the industry. His time at Mojang solidified his desire to pursue a career in video game development. He talked very fondly of the experience and the earnings that he put towards a brand-new Xbox. As his College Possible coach, I’ve found it such a joy to see Nathan grow and attain some of his dreams.

This past year Nathan has been one of the most committed students in my cohort. He is always the first to sign up for any group session or one-on-one. He meets with me almost every week. We find time to discuss everything — from the latest video games, to which college offers the best game development majors, to what career he sees himself in. He always comes to sessions with a desire to learn and commit himself fully to the program. As we have worked to develop his personal statement, fill out college applications, and learn about enrichment opportunities, I have also learned about his incredible work ethic. He always manages to prioritize College Possible while also working part-time at Chipotle, studying, and making time for his video game passion. It has been such a joy to see Nathan grow, and I feel like I am close to my goal of being like the College Possible coaches I was fortunate enough to have. I am excited to see where Nathan attends college and what career he ends up with. Nathan is the kind of student who really gives it his all, and I know that will take him far.

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